Driving ban for digging nails into motorist’s face in road rage episode

Prohibition on getting behind wheel imposed on painter and decorator Desmond Whitby

‘It would appear, prima facie, that this man when driving a vehicle can work himself up sufficiently to at least arguably get himself involved in road rage incidents.’

‘It would appear, prima facie, that this man when driving a vehicle can work himself up sufficiently to at least arguably get himself involved in road rage incidents.’

 

A 58-year-old man accused of digging his nails into another motorist’s face and punching a woman in two separate road rage episodes is to be banned from driving, a High Court judge ordered on Friday.

The prohibition on getting behind the wheel was imposed on painter and decorator Desmond Whitby as he was granted bail.

Mr Justice Maguire said: “It would appear, prima facie, that this man when driving a vehicle can work himself up sufficiently to at least arguably get himself involved in road rage incidents.”

Whitby, of Divis Tower in Belfast, denies two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was first arrested after police became aware of an altercation with another man outside Lisburn PSNI Station on October 27th last year.

The alleged victim was visibly shaking and had blood dripping down his face from several open wounds, the court was told.

He claimed to have been driving along Queensway in Dunmurry, southwest Belfast, when Whitby pulled up alongside in his van and waved at him.

When he put his window down the accused was said to have shouted at him about the speed limit.

Referring to Whitby’s alleged actions, prosecution counsel Kate McKay told the court: “He grabbed his face, digging his nails into the skin.”

She said nail swabs taken from the accused provided a DNA match with the injured party.

‘Tailgating’ incident

Whitby has made a counterclaim that he was attacked by the other man he says had been “tailgating” him.

A second alleged bout of road rage occurred at a car park in Lisburn, Co Antrim, on June 6th this year.

According to the prosecution Whitby got out of his van at Knockmore Square, approached an aunt and niece in another vehicle and began shouting aggressively.

He allegedly threw several punches at the younger woman, inflicting a bloodied nose and leaving her dazed.

Opposing bail, Ms McKay said: “This man does appear to have a bit of a temper.”

Defence counsel argued that Whitby should be released because the case is to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court, where a lesser sentence would be imposed for any conviction.

Granting bail, the judge also barred him from entering Lisburn or contacting either complainant.